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Lifetimes of Celebration
Mike: Hi, James. I must be honest with you and say that one day I really would like to teach, as I have always had that inclination and not the way of the superficial Neo non-method, and you perhaps remember I was with the grandfather of that movement who shall remain unnamed. I am used to speaking with clarity in front of people, and if Isvara has that plan for me of course I will fulfil it. So I am listening and reading intently, as I find the way you teach and what you teach is so clear and accessible. I have always had a great suspicion of these modern teachers and the whole vomitous Neo scene.
In any case I wrote to tell you of an experience that I had whilst in India many years ago. I was with my girlfriend at the time in Delhi and we had run out of money. I was fine with this situation yet my friend started to get neurotic about it, and I got quite firm and fiery with her and said, “Do not bring me back into the world.” Then we went back to where we were staying and had a rest from the heat of the day, when this incredible forceful energy entered the room from above and pinned me to the bed. As this happened my girlfriend cried out, “I have lost my body, I don’t have a body!” and yes, the body was gone, there was only what seemed this solid awareness, and to that I replied, “It’s okay, just relax, everything is just fine.” I have no idea how long it lasted and both of us fell asleep. I have wanted to ask someone about this, yet there was no one to ask. Yes, I know it is just another one of many experiences spiritual and otherwise, but do you have any explanation???
James: It is lovely to hear from you, Mike. I am so happy that Vedanta works for you. I think you will make a fine teacher some day, considering your thespian skills, stentorian voice, dedication to the truth and appreciation of the need for an impersonal means of self-knowledge.
I read you account of your experience with interest. It is a typical “spiritual” experience, the self revealing to you the fact that you exist without a body and revealing itself to you in the form of an experience of awareness. Had you understood the meaning clearly it would have set you free. But of course this kind of thing is so strange and unexpected it is just taken as an experience and the meaning is generally lost. Evidently you did have a partial understanding of it at the time because you said you were fine without a body – which is the truth.
But there was lack of clarity about who the “you” was. You took the awareness to be an object “coming from above” because your perspective was still actually the body. Awareness is not something that “comes.” It is the one to whom all things “come.” The knowledge is contained in your statement, “…there was only what seemed to be this solid awareness.” That is the truth. Reality is only “solid awareness,” meaning there is only awareness, meaning it is non-dual.
But as the knowledge, “I am not the body, the world is awareness,” appeared in the form of an experience and your attention was riveted on it, the most important factor was overlooked, to wit the one who witnessed solid awareness and the absence of bodies, i.e. simple, ordinary awareness, the awareness because of which these words are known. This experience, as is the case with most spiritual experiences, resulted in indirect self-knowledge, the knowledge that there is a self. This kind of experience keeps one on the path and eventually leads to the direct knowledge, “I am awareness.” Awareness is so natural that it is almost always taken for granted when in fact its existence is the worthy of lifetimes of celebration.
~ Much love, James